Wisdom Gives Life
1An unfriendly person isolates himself
and seems to care only about his own issues.
For his contempt of sound judgment makes him a recluse. # 18:1 There are alternate possible translations of this verse in the Hebrew; for example, “An idle man meditates on his lusts and mocks wise instruction.”
2Senseless people find no pleasure in acquiring true wisdom,
for all they want to do is impress you with what they know.
3An ungodly man is always cloaked with disgrace,
as dishonor and shame are his companions.
4Words of wisdom # 18:4 Or “Words that touch the heart.” are like a fresh, flowing brook—
like deep waters that spring forth from within,
bubbling up inside the one with understanding.
5It is atrocious when judges show favor to the guilty
and deprive the innocent of justice.
6A senseless man jumps headfirst into an argument;
he’s just asking for a beating for his reckless words. # 18:6 The Aramaic is “his rash words call for death.”
7A fool has a big mouth that only gets him into trouble,
and he’ll pay the price for what he says.
8The words of a gossip merely reveal the wounds of his own soul, # 18:8 Scholars are somewhat uncertain about an exact translation of this phrase. The Aramaic is “The words of a lazy man lead him to fear and evil.”
and his slander penetrates into the innermost being.
9The one who is too lazy to look for work
is the same one who wastes his life away.
10The character of God is a tower of strength, # 18:10 The Hebrew word migdal, translated as “tower of strength,” has a homonym that can be translated “bed of flowers.”
for the lovers of God delight to run into his heart
and be exalted on high.
11The rich, in their conceit, imagine that their wealth
is enough to protect them.
It becomes their confidence in a day of trouble. # 18:11 The Aramaic is “The wealth of the rich is a strong city, and its glory casts a broad shadow.”
12A man’s heart is the proudest when his downfall is nearest,
for he won’t see glory until the Lord sees humility.
13Listen before you speak,
for to speak before you’ve heard the facts will bring humiliation.
14The will to live sustains you when you’re sick, # 18:14 The Septuagint is “A wise servant can calm a man’s anger.”
but depression crushes courage and leaves you unable to cope.
15The spiritually hungry are always ready to learn more,
for their hearts are eager to discover new truths.
16Would you like to meet a very important person?
Take a generous gift.
It will do wonders to gain entrance into his presence.
17There are two sides to every story.
The first one to speak sounds true until you hear the other side
and they set the record straight. # 18:17 The text implies that a legal testimony in a courtroom may seem to be correct until cross-examination begins.
18A coin toss # 18:18 The Hebrew is “Casting lots.” resolves a dispute
and can put an argument to rest
between formidable opponents.
19It is easier to conquer a strong city
than to win back a friend whom you’ve offended.
Their walls go up, making it nearly impossible to win them back. # 18:19 Or “A brother supported by a brother is like a high, strong city. They hold each other up like the bars of a fortress.”
20Sharing words of wisdom is satisfying to your inner being.
It encourages you to know
that you’ve changed someone else’s life. # 18:20 Or “A man’s belly is filled with the fruits of his mouth, and by the harvest of his lips he will be satisfied.”
21Your words are so powerful
that they will kill or give life,
and the talkative person will reap the consequences.
22When a man finds a wife,
he has found a treasure!
For she is the gift of God to bring him joy and pleasure.
But the one who divorces a good woman
loses what is good from his house. # 18:22 The reference to divorce is not found in the Hebrew text but is included in both the Aramaic and the Septuagint.
To choose an adulteress is both stupid and ungodly. # 18:22 As translated from the Septuagint.
23The poor plead for help from the rich,
but all they get in return is a harsh response.
24Some friendships don’t last for long, # 18:24 Or “A man with too many friends may be broken to pieces.”
but there is one loving friend who is joined to your heart # 18:24 The Hebrew word used here can be translated “joined together,” “stick close,” “to cleave,” “to pursue,” or “to overtake.”
closer than any other!